World to Get Its Tallest Dam

1,030-footer gets OK from environmental ministry
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2013 11:44 AM CDT
World to Get Its Tallest Dam
This Oct. 26, 2010 file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency shows the reservoir of the Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, in central China's Hubei province.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Du Huaju, File)

The title of world's tallest dam may shift to a new country in a decade's time. Plans for a 1,030-foot dam—45 feet taller than the current title holder, Tajikistan's Nurek dam—have gotten the green light from China's environmental ministry. The $4.4 billion dam would enable a hydropower project earmarked for Sichuan province and produce twice as much energy as the Hoover Dam. True to form, the OK came even as the ministry admitted that the dam would deal a blow to rare or threatened fish and plants, according to state-run media.

The ministry proposed some measures to combat the potential harm, including "protecting fish habitats in tributaries, building fish ladders, and increasing fish breeding and releasing ... as well as constructing seed banks." The Guardian notes that critics fear this and other dams' impact on the area's earth: It's prone to earthquakes and landslides. (Read more China stories.)

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